Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Better Late Than Never Farewell

For any of you still waiting to hear from me on this site, I do apologize. The past year has been full of change and after giving it some thought I've realized that this blog and I just don't fit together any more. It was lovely while it lasted.

Thank you for reading and commenting. If you're into tiny bite-sized updates, you can find me on twitter as @lonestaraussie.

Best of everything.
LaLa

Sunday, February 1, 2009

It's Not You, It's Me

I apologize for disappearing for so long without a peep. We lost someone at Christmas-time and I haven't felt much like writing. I'm beginning to feel more like myself though so I should be back soon.

I've been thinking of my blog friends and hoping you're all well.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Blink Faster

The other night I was sitting at a light (why do all my stories begin this way lately?), waiting to turn left. So, being a responsible driver, I had my blinker on. It was a long light. And I drive an old car. Perhaps I should not have been surprised when, about two minutes into the wait, my blinker … went on the blink. Instead of its usual bink.uh.bink.uh.bink it started blinking at a furious rate. Like it was mad. Or trying to give me a heart attack. One of my pet peeves is frantic blinkers – either in my own car or on the tail end of the car in front of me. They seem unnecessarily stressful. I know you’re turning. You're in the turn lane. No need to get all manic and insistent about it.

Anyway, my left-turn blinker would only blink at warp speed for the rest of the night although the right-turn blinker was fine. And the left-turn blinker had returned to its normal rate by the next day. Apparently it was just having a moment. I'm glad. I'd have hated having to give up indicating left turns.

*

I can hardly believe it’s December already. It seems like only yesterday it was August and 106 degrees here. Now it’s finally cold enough to feel like Christmas. (Thank heaven! I was beginning to worry I wasn’t going to catch up with the holiday until, say, February.) J-Mom is flying in tonight for her annual Christmas visit. Yay! I’ve cleaned up and even decorated for Christmas a little bit.

My one string of plain white fairy lights is a little bit sad. It has to be up way high somewhere, out of reach of my cats. Dickens thinks the little glass bulbs are like popcorn for cats. He loves to chomp on them. He chomped on a couple before I figured this out, which is why only one third of my lights actually shine – the chomping took place about a third of the way down the string. I know I should just get more lights. But I have yet to develop a ceiling-only decorating plan so for now I’m going to use the 33 fairy lights I’ve got and keep an eye on the chomper.

*
I was born in December and Mom tells me that my first Christmas (not when I was a few weeks old but the next year, just after my first birthday), they had a tree with blinking lights. She thought it was very funny that I blinked when the tree blinked. Every time. If you think about it, that means my first Christmas tree was either always twinkly or always dark.

Hope all your blinks are in sync.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Shopping Tips from the Most Insensitive Person Ever

After work tonight I drove around running errands – picking up drycleaning, going to Home Depot. (I always try to visit Home Depot wearing my girliest clothes. The service is much snappier.)

As I was sitting at a light not really listening to the radio I gradually tuned in to what I was hearing. It was a commercial and it started off something like, “Are you having trouble finding Christmas gifts for those friends who have everything?” I thought to myself, ‘Hm, I know a few people like that.’ So I began to pay closer attention. The cheerful radio Voice continued:

“Well, how about getting them a little confidence? Everyone can always use a little more confidence.” Or something cheesy like that. At this point my own initial spike of interest and confidence in the radio Voice was beginning to fade. Rapidly.

The fade turned into a complete black-out when the Voice got to the punch-line:

“Why not give your friend the gift of laser hair removal?”

Um.

Huh.

That idea had never crossed my mind. Not even once, and I’ve been giving gifts to people for YEARS.

I’ve honestly spent some time this evening trying to picture it and I just cannot come up with any conceivable scenario in which giving someone laser hair removal would be okay. Also, I suspect if someone did surprise you with a certificate for laser hair removal, that unwrapping that particular gift might possibly have the most disastrous effect on your self-confidence EVER.

So I’m thinking the radio Voice belongs to a person who may not understand what gift-giving is supposed to be about – also, the Voice seems to be a little unclear on the meaning of the word ‘confidence.’

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Thread Runs through It

Shakespeare’s King Richard cried, “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” And you just knew he meant it.

For several days now I’ve felt exactly the same way about cat poop.

And believe me, I NEVER thought I’d say that.

I got home Friday night and over the course of several hours pieced together a little story for what my cats had been up to that day. (I’m actually embarrassed to confess how long it took me. I’d have to give up my life-long membership of the Nancy Drew Girl Sleuth fan club if you only knew.)

Apparently one of my kitties – that would be Wilkie – discovered a spool of thread I had forgotten to put away in full concealment. As anyone would do (come on, you know you would), she chased it all over the house. And when she got tired of that she snacked on it. Ate it all up like Lady and the Tramp slurping up one big long noodle in that famous scene. This being gritty real life rather than a Disney movie Wilkie didn’t fall end up falling in love with a scrappy street dog. No, instead Wilkie then puked up yards of semi-digested thread. (Mistress of the Pleasant Surprise, Wilkie puked up the thread on my bed. She’d have gotten in a lot of trouble for that if I’d figured it out before she fell seriously ill.)

The tricky thing about swallowing a lot of thread – as fun as that must have been – is that sometimes it can get looped around your tongue. So then you’re stuck with thread going through your little kitty digestive system, yet anchored to your poor sore little kitty-tongue. Stalemate, you might say. Eventually – after trying to unsuccessfully to hork up thread every hour on the hour for 16 hours – I figured out what was going on and took her to the vet.

We’ve only lived here a few months so this was our first visit to the vet. Fortunately we got lucky and our new vet – henceforth known in this household as Saint Doctor Baker – knew exactly what was going on. She calmed me down (I was really very worried) and also managed to cure Wilkie without having to operate. The patience-trying, sleep-denying part of the process was having to wait for Wilkie to poop. Days. We waited days.

THREE WHOLE DAYS waiting for a positive outcome. So to speak.

In the meantime, having survived her crisis and come out unscathed, Wilkie is now demonstrating an all-hours, day and night gratitude for being alive. She’s feeling pretty frisky for a middle-aged cat. If she could sing and dance, she would do so. As it is, she is acting at all times like the most friendly, purry, playful 15-pound kitten you’ve ever seen. She asks for belly rubs. She attacks my feet under the covers. She chats chummily whenever I talk on the phone (since she can’t hear the other person, she assumes we’re having a conversation.) And she’s been playing a marathon game of fetch since Sunday morning. She follows me everywhere with cat toys, demanding I throw them for her. I come home from work – there’s a toy by the door, a toy in her food bowl, and a toy in my slippers. I wake up in the morning, there’s a toy by my pillow. I step out of the shower, there’s a toy on the bathmat.

It’s a huge relief. We’re all very happy. Especially Dickens who did not understand why every time I heard him scraping around in the litterbox I’d come tearing in there from the far corners of my apartment thinking he was Wilkie. He’d give me an outraged “Do you MIND?!” look and I’d sheepishly leave him to it. He appreciates the return of my disinterest in all cat litterbox activities. As do I.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vanished into the Old West

Hi! I’ve been gone FOREVER. Sorry about that. I can’t believe October has come and gone. I’ve been traveling a little and working and adjusting to life in Texas and obsessing about the election and doing some more adjusting and navigating the mysteries of car repair. I keep meaning to come back here and write things down but I’m easily distracted these days – forgive me.

To make it up to you I have a fun show and tell for you, all about my favorite recently-moved-to-Texas story, about the 8th Annual Texas Stampede in downtown Dallas. For those of you unlucky enough to have missed it, I’m posting pictures below for your entertainment.













Apparently this happens every year. They block off Main Street in downtown Dallas and there beneath the glass skyscrapers drovers in chaps on patient-looking horses drive 100 head of longhorn cattle past the crowds of onlookers on break from their workaday business. I found this FASCINATING. First of all, do you have any idea how freakin’ huge a longhorn is????










I mean, we all know they’re big, but when you’re standing on the side of the road watching a local police officer shoo one on his way the gigantic-ness really becomes clear.

Look, a cowboy.













Look, a runaway steer. (Okay, you can't tell that he's a runaway in this shot, but right after I took this photo he came over to the barriers and started snuffling bystanders - starting his own little mini-stampede of people running away from him - until a cowboy came and shuffled him back in with the rest of the herd.)










Note his wonky horns. The slightly-terrifying cowpoke-lady next to me announced that he must have gotten in a fight when he was a baby. I was busy blending in with the scenery so neither steer nor cowpoke-lady would notice me or I might have asked for more information.


All this took place near one of my favorite views in downtown Dallas, the one that includes both the round towers of the Old Red Courthouse and the sphere of Reunion Tower.










Let’s be honest, ‘stampede’ was a misnomer. It was a thoroughly-organized, none-too-hurried amble for everyone concerned. The cows got so bored at the end of it that they turned around and tried to go in reverse. The cowboys on horses WITH BULLWHIPS stopped them. I’m telling you, it was a very weird little break in my workday.










At the end of the road, near Old Red, all the animals had to stop and wait while drovers loaded them up one-by-one into cattle-trailers to take them away. They got bored. One giant longhorn peed, which was startling (maybe not for him, but it was certainly startling to innocent bystanders), but then – power of suggestion being strong in a herd – they all peed. Everyone of them seemed to follow some psychic cow cue and they peed a river all over Main Street. It was pretty funny.

This never once happened when I lived in Boston.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lexicon, Take Three

It’s been a while since I last updated the LaLa Lexicon. Parts one and two available here. This latest version is mostly brought to you by the letter H, though I’m not sure exactly why.



“A yittle or a yot?” Clarification. A favorite quote from one of my nephews, whose relationship with the letter L is somewhat tenuous. (To him, I am Aunt YaYa.) This question is a very useful way to address matters of scale.


Cosmic particles. Noun. Remember back when something coincidental would happen and people would hum the ‘Twilight Zone’ music? The phrase ‘cosmic particles’, when uttered with wide eyes and a knowing nod, conveys the same consciousness of fate’s twists without anyone having to fake half-sing in public.


Fross. Adjective. When something is really gross, it's fross. Courtesy of my nephew Caden-4yrs, who employs a cavalier approach to certain consonants. Example: If you go outside and accidentally step in dog poop, your shoes will be fross.


Herfing. State of being. Word to describe the feeling you get after eating food that you know is bad for you (like Doritos or in Australia certain very dodgy looking meat pies). This word was coined by a friend while we were traveling in Tasmania on Anzac Day, which is a national holiday. We found ourselves out and about with no open restaurants or stores – and we were very hungry. We had to make do with some sort of cheese+meat+beer+shoes pies from a filling station. Example: After eating those pies we were herfin’.


Hoh-kay. Pronouncement, laced with sarcasm. A form of agreement that implies complete disagreement. The more ‘ho-ho-hos’ you include before the ‘-kay’, the more obvious it becomes you don’t agree. For example, Person A says “Gee, I don’t think the American presidential election lasts long enough. Blink and you’ll miss it.” Person B says “Ho-ho-ho-kay” and walks off, shaking her head.


Hork. Verb. To throw up a big ol’ hairball, usually in the middle of the night. A form of onomatopoeia.


Hormotional. Adjective. Favorite new word from Ugly Betty, used to describe the crazy and wildly varying mood swings sometimes attributed to an overabundance of hormones. Note - Men, use this sparingly. It could get you in trouble. Example: Alternately raving, sobbing, and giggling, she displayed a textbook case of hormotional behavior.


Hotpants. Nickname, gender-neutral. ‘Hotpants’ is what I call you when our paths cross and it becomes instantly clear that you are in your 20s, and are convinced that you will always look like that, that you were born knowing more than all the rest of us, and that the rest of us should feel truly fortunate that you chose to condescend so kindly in our direction. One day, Hotpants, you too will be 35. Just remember that.


Hot-umn. Contraction = hot + autumn. First day of fall here in Dallas, high of 90°F. Definitely hot-umn.


Huh. Noncommittal commentary. Usually uttered as a stand-alone comment devoid of gestures or facial expressions. Surface meaning: I’m listening to what you’re saying. Actual meaning: I totally disagree with you but am not about to get into it. Example: Person A says, “I think OJ Simpson is just misunderstood.” Person B says, “Huh.”


Sensuous. Contraction = since + you + wuz. “Sensuous up, could you get me a drink?” Courtesy of my friend Nooch, who collects Southern contractions the way some people collect Himmel figurines.


Stampede mode. Noun. That feeling you sometimes get that makes it seem like if you don’t get up and run around really fast right now you just might explode. Admittedly, I don’t feel like this very often, but I used to, and my cats seem to feel it every night around 10 pm. Also known as ‘the rip-snorts’ or ‘the evening crazies.’


Through the looking glass. Descriptive phrase. Courtesy of Lewis Carroll, used to describe that feeling you get when something totally bizarre seems to have happened but no one else seems to have noticed.


W :0 W. Commentary + sign language. This one involves using your hands, and was learned from a few weird girls I met at summer camp during my high school years. (Note level of maturity of the source of this gesture, and use accordingly.) Make ‘W’s’ with both hands (you know, backward '3's), hold them up on either side of your head and say “Wow” in a melodramatic fashion, using your head – or the big O of your mouth – to be the middle of the word. This reaction is usually only prompted by something truly amazing.